My life has been busy here the last couple of days. Yesterday I went gliding, in a glider!!! Trish and Graeme gave me a soaring experience as a thank you for helping them out. It was wonderful. When we got to the site they suggested they were going to wait a half hour because the clouds were lifting off the mountains and every minute you waited they were getting higher. It was beautiful and sunny so we happily waited in the sunshine being regaled by stories by a female glider pilot that was at least 65. When it was my turn I got strapped in the back seat and Trish ( with Quinn in her Baby Bijorn) was asked to help push the plane around so it was ready to be hooked up to the tow plane. We were set and the tow plane went tearing off down the runway, it was a bit disconcerting to see the tow plane still on the ground and realize we were flying along behind it. The plane finally took off and he towed us on a pretty straight path up to 6000 feet. We were over the mountains by then and the Kiwi who was flying the plane told me that the bumps that we hit were thermals and that we would be going to back to find them to go higher. We turned and found the thermal and circled in it until we got up to about 7700 ft. Then we did some sight seeing and then the pilot saw another plane and went and joined him in his thermal and we circled around and went back up again. Right then and there I learned another similarity between sailing and gliding. When you have 2 sailboats out together, there is always (at least in our minds) a race going on, same with gliders. My New Zealand pilot was in his glory because he was climbing higher and faster than the newer, lilghter plane that was in the same thermal as we were.
After beating the pants off the other plane we flew down the valley and I was allowed after much instruction to take the "stick" and do some flying. I managed to do a short dive, pull up, turn right, and circle and turn left and circle and then get back on an even keel. I even managed to turn the correct way when he asked, that was the most difficult part! Afterwards he went in for a landing and executed a feather light touchdown. What a fabulous gift.